Review: Twelve South BookBook for iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)
Beautiful. That's the first word that came to mind upon seeing Twelve South's new BookBook for iPad ($80) and the impression only grew stronger when we got our hands on it and had a chance to really use it. With support for the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad, this is actually a significantly revised second version of the case. The company made some dramatic changes, making it more protective and functional. Compared to BookBook for iPhone, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, it's the strongest member of the family so far. BookBook for iPad is available in Vintage Brown, Vibrant Red, and Classic Black.
From the outside, this BookBook is virtually indistinguishable from its predecessor. It’s made of very high quality reinforced leather with gold trim. As with other Twelve South cases, a little bit of weathering is a good thing here; it adds character. The spine looks just like that on an old book, with more gold accents including the phrases “BOOK BOOK” and “VOL XII,” the latter of which represents the company’s name. It would fit in perfectly with other tomes on a shelf. A zipper takes up the remaining three-quarters of the edge, with a pair of pulls attached to brass rings.
Opening the case reveals a whole new setup for holding and using your iPad. Gone are the lazy-feeling elastic band and leather corners. They’ve been replaced with a soft, thin leather frame on the right side; a pair of snaps on the left edge holds it place against the suede-lined interior. While many holders of this style leave the corners or edges exposed, this one covers all of the iPad’s aluminum back and sides as well as some of the bezel. To insert the tablet, you simply lift the frame off and slide the device in through the other edge, followed by a flap that helps keep it in place.
The openings for the ports and buttons are just a little rough, but allow for easy and full access. Using the iSight camera without removing the iPad is the most problematic aspect of BookBook. The hole is large enough, but the setup requires the rest of the case dangle below for landscape shots or be held awkwardly in portrait mode. For those who rely on their iPads for photography this may be a deal breaker, but for everyone else it’s just a minor inconvenience. We were surprised, however, by how comfortable the case feels with the front cover folded underneath. It’s well suited for both one- and two-handed use.
BookBook supports typing and viewing angles, both in pretty intuitive ways. For the former, simply unsnap the frame and fold out the small stand attached to the back. Position that stand against the male end of the snaps and it holds its position, securely and at a comfortable angle. For video viewing, one simply leans the holder against the edge of the front cover. We found that jamming the edge underneath the typing stand to be a good way to hold the position, although you can play around with it a bit to find your preferred position. There’s not a lot of range to the viewing angle, although the bottom edge that’s attached to the rear cover does allow for some.
Like most of Twelve South’s products, BookBook is an object of lust. Seeing it online is one thing, but holding it’s a whole other experience. It’s clear the company knows just what it’s doing when it comes to materials and design. Thankfully, this is also one of Twelve South’s more practical options. The case offers very good protection and totally usable stands, all while feeling great during use. There are some drawbacks such as the clumsiness in using the camera and lack of screen-locking magnets, but BookBook for iPad is still a very good case and is worthy of our strong general recommendation.